BOSTON — Throughout the weekend, hundreds of people will hop on stationary bikes and pedal in honor of those fighting cancer and the souls that we lost too soon.
Cycle for Survival is an annual and massive fundraiser for the Memorial Sloan Kettering Institute, which treats some of the rarest cancers in the world.
It’s people like Charlie Aceto that motivate others to get their sweat on and pedal for change.
The 2-year-old boy has had a very long battle with cancer that started from the moment he was born. Diagnosed at birth with a rare cancerous tumor, his mother, Betsy, went straight to New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Institute which treats some of the rarest cancers in the world.
“Something was flagged in utero, they certainly didn’t think it was cancer, but they did an ultrasound conservatively at birth and did suspect he had a neuroblastoma," said Betsy Aceto.
Charlie’s cancer was both rare and aggressive, which meant he needed to start chemo at just five weeks old.
“It was clear that Charlie was not doing well, at which point they decided that they needed to do radiation to get control of the tumor," said Aceto.
The long road, however, came with a couple of bumps in the way, like when radiation began showing complications.
“He’s had over 30 surgeries to try to fix his GI complications and some complication to his airway," said Aceto.
Now in remission, Charlie is making progress every day toward living a normal life.
Aceto tells Boston 25 News she’s not sure Charlie would be alive today if it wasn’t for all the efforts and work done by the staff at Sloan Kettering.
“Just how wonderful Sloan Kettering treated our family, every single person that works there from the doctors to the nurses, maintenance staff, cooking staff, just goes so far above and beyond," said Aceto.
Because of stories like this, events such as this weekend’s Cycle for Survival are so important. This time around, Aceto will join hundreds of riders at Equinox in Boston for the event.
Riders have raised millions of dollars over the last seven years to help Sloan Kettering identify alternative treatments that might be less invasive and lead to better outcomes for people like Charlie.
This weekend, 1,700 riders have signed up for the event. Boston 25 News Anchor Kerry Kavanaugh is proud to join this team of riders to make a difference.
At this point, it’s too late to sign up to ride, but people are encouraged to make a donation to Sloan Kettering here.
“I wish I had said how grateful I am to all that have contributed to the cause," said Aceto. "Our friends and family have been outrageously generous.”